Information Sharing Guidelines

 The 2008 Information Sharing Guidelines for promoting safety and wellbeing of children, young people and their families defined a process for information sharing that promoted earlier and more effective service coordination in response to risks to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

In 2013 the South Australian Cabinet directed that the scope of the guidelines should be broadened to include information sharing for both children and adults, wherever there are threats to safety and wellbeing. This decision enables service providers to apply the new Information sharing guidelines for promoting safety and wellbeing (ISG), to all clients with whom they work and aligns information sharing practice across both adult and child services.

The current ISG can be downloaded from here

Thank you to all those individuals and organisations who have provided advice and input to the ISG and who, through their knowledge and case studies, tell the story of the ISG in practice. Ombudsman SA is pleased to release the new ISG – the Information Sharing Guidelines for Promoting Safety and Wellbeing.

Implementing the ISG

Developing organizational policies and procedures: To implement the ISG, agencies and organisations develop a procedure to accompany the ISG – that document explains how to apply the ISG within that organization and is called an ISG Appendix. There are necessary components to any ISG Appendix – to find out about what is required, see below ISG Resources – a Guide to Writing an ISG Appendix.

Until organisations have developed an ISG Appendix (or updated their existing one), staff are advised to follow current policies and procedures and seek advice from senior staff when needing approval and support for information sharing decisions. Following the ISG decision making steps and practice guide will assist you share information appropriately – you can download a copy from ISG Resources below.

Staff training and induction: When organisations complete their ISG Appendix, it is important that staff are appropriately trained and inducted, as is the case for any new or amended policy or procedure.  Ombudsman SA has created 2 online courses – see below ISG Resources. The first course is a short introduction to the ISG, providing a general overview. The other course provides more in-depth  Induction for Staff and Supervisors; this course is highly interactive and provides the sort of detail staff who deal with clients’ needs require. This training will ensure they understand when they can or perhaps should share information in response to risk of harm. This course is also for people who supervise service providers (as they play an important role in decision making and approval processes) and for policy makers and quality assurance staff.

Interagency collaboration: When applying the ISG, you may seek to collaborate with an organization that hasn’t yet implemented the ISG – that doesn’t mean they can’t share information with you, or that the ISG doesn’t apply to them. In these circumstances you may direct them to the Ombudsman’s website so they can read about the ISG. You could suggest they use the 2 page ISG decision making steps and practice guide to help you talk through the case at hand.

Support for organisations and agencies: Questions about applying the ISG can be directed to the Principal Advisor Information Sharing at Ombudsman SA on telephone (08) 8226 8699 or email isg@ombudsman.sa.gov.au

ISG Resources

To support agencies and organisations in their implementation of the ISG, Ombudsman SA has produced the following resources:

  • A guide to writing an ISG Appendix
    This booklet outlines the essential requirements for ISG policies and procedures. It provides a simple instruction on how to write an ISG Appendix
  • ISG Decision Making Steps and Practice Guide
    A two-page document which summarises the ISG flowchart process and provides explanations and advice on its practical application. This is a key resource for all staff to follow. It guides information sharing decisions and actions. Please download this resource and use as a check list every time you want to seek or provide information.
    ISG Decisions Making Steps and Guide – PDF version for printing.
    ISG Decision Making Steps and Guide – Word version for copying to documents.
  • Early intervention by sharing information – 10 top practice tips
    Another take on the process of sharing or not sharing information from a practice perspective. Useful personal reference or training tool.
  • Discussion Paper
    Overview of implementation of the Information Sharing Guidelines for Promoting the Safety and Wellbeing of Children, Young People and their Families 2009 to 2012.
  • Sample Consent Formthis is an example of a consent to disclose information form.
  • Record Keeping – if your organisation does not have a client file record keeping process this is an example of a form that could be used to record information sharing activity.
  • ISG Audit Tool Assessing organisational ISG policies and procedures for content and quality
    This audit tool is useful for organisations wanting to test if their approach to ISG implementation is sufficient. It can also be used by organisations in preparation for quality assurance auditing processes such as the Australian Service Excellence Standards.
  • ISG training and Induction
    Two different ISG courses have been developed:

Instructions for how to use ISG training resources:

If your organisation operates a SCORM compatible Learning Management System you can incorporate these courses into your LMS. To request a SCORM package, please complete this form. A link will be made available to you from where you can download the SCORM package. You need to upload it onto your LMS and assign it to the users to access the course.

If you don’t have one, but would like to set up a Learning Management System which allows reporting on course progress and completions, as well as a certificate that each user can download and print out, contact e3Learning on https://www.e3learning.com/au/ or telephone 1300 303 318.

If your organisation does not operate a Learning Management System, you can access this version of the courses through your intranet browser – you don’t need flash or any high tech hardware or software. You can access this course on the Ombudsman’s website. Please click the link below for the course to open up in a new window. Please note that there is no certificate issued at the completion of the course.